“He wanted as many kids between him and the audience as possible.”
Eddie Foy, Jr.
The Seven Little Foys (1955) is a highly interesting Bob Hope comedy/drama. It is amusing like most Bob Hope films, but I have also found it intriguing because Hope portrays Foy at the beginning of the film as a selfish loner who wants absolutely nothing to do with a wife, let alone kids. In the film his ambitions to lead a selfish solitary life are thwarted by love. First, love for his wife and then, after her death, love for their numerous children. At the end of the film we even see love of God starting to enter into Foy’s life, as he goes to Mass for the first time in years. His attempt to lead a life devoted to self alone ends in flat failure!
Like most Hollywood films some of the details of the actual Foy and his children are distorted, but it does not deter from the central message of the film. Humans only have true happiness by loving others and doing good for them. It seems a simple enough concept, and it certainly lies at the heart of Catholicism, but most of the evil in the world is a testament to how elusive many people find this core truth of human life.
Seeing Foy throughout the film grow into the role of father, with many hurdles, makes it a great film for Father’s day. Go here for film clips from the film.
I cannot leave this film without showing the clip of the legendary dance routine between Bob Hope and James Cagney, reprising his role from Yankee Doodle Dandy as James M. Cohan. Cagney had his salary for the role donated to charity, regarding it as a tribute to Eddie Foy, who in the twenties had helped out struggling young actors, including Cagney.
What do you need friends for?… you’ve got all the friends and enemies you need right here in the family.
Eddie Foy (Bob Hope), The Seven Little Foys (1955)
Broadcast on December 18, 1945, the Bob Hope Christmas show for 1945 gives an interesting insight into America as it observed its first peacetime Christmas in five years. Hope mentions product shortages in his jokes and in a skit the housing shortage comes up. His guest star was actor Wayne Morris. Morris had served as a Navy flier, shooting down seven Japanese planes and contributing to the sinking of five ships, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He earned four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals. A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War. He spent the rest of his career mostly in low budget Westerns. He died of a heart attack in 1959 at age 45 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Bob Hope spent many holidays away from his home entertaining the troops, and in this 1950 Thanksgiving message he reminds us of those who stand guard over our nation and often eat their Thanksgiving turkey far from home as a result. God bless and keep them and their families.
Hope had already been to Korea to entertain the troops, even beating the Marines ashore at Wonsan on the east coast of North Korea! He would be back to entertain the troops again, continuing his tradition of service that would stretch a half century from World War II to Desert Storm. Hope was a comedic genius, in his prime perhaps the greatest American stand up comedian. However, what I remember him for is the true patriotism that caused him, whether a war was popular or unpopular, to endure discomfort and danger to bring a smile to Americans far from home serving their country. He was born in England, but he might as well have been born in the heart of America on the Fourth of July. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Silver Bells. Damon Runyon and Bob Hope make an odd but potent combination in The Lemon Drop Kid (1951). Based very, very loosely on a short story by Damon Runyon, the film is filled with the usual Runyon collection of colorful and humorous, unlike crooks in real life, gangsters. Hope takes center stage as the Lemon Drop Kid, a cowardly and incompetent, in other words the personae Hope normally assumed in his film comedies of this period, racetrack tout. He dreams up a scam involving the establishment of an old age home for old gangster wives and molls in order to pay off gangster Moose Moran the $10,000.00 he owes him, and to escape Moose having surgery performed upon him sans anesthesia.
In the end, nobler sentiments stir within him, and Hope foils the gangsters, saves the old age home and stages an affecting reunion on Christmas eve between an elderly gangster released from prison and his wife, Nellie Thursday, after whom the old age home is named. Hope is ably supported by a superb cast including Lloyd Nolan, William Frawley and Marilyn Maxwell. The song Silver Bells featured in the video clip at the beginning of this post, which has become a Christmas favorite, made its debut in this film.
Bob Hope’s NBC radio special “Soldiers in Greasepaint” broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1943. A salute to millions of brave Americans who were spending Thanksgiving a long way from home seven decades ago.
By the time of World War II Hope was 38 and too old to likely be assigned to a combat area. He got around that by spending much of his time during the War entertaining troops in combat zones, occasionally coming under fire. Hope’s genius as a comedian was a rare gift; a willingness to spend it entertaining American troops was a worthy way of using that gift. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The song Thanks for the Memory made immortal by comedian Bob Hope. One of the great stand up comedians of all time, Hope was also a true patriot:
For fifty years Bob Hope entertained US troops, from 1941-1991, from World War 2 to the Gulf War. He brought old jokes, delivered in an unforgettable style, beautiful starlets, and a touch of home to troops far away from home. As long as there is a US military Bob Hope will never be forgotten. I have had many veterans tear up when recalling attending a Bob Hope show in a war zone, a bright moment in a fairly grim period of their lives. Continue reading
Language, violence and common sense warning for the above video.
Remember those calls for civility which emanated from the Left last year when Congresswoman Giffords was shot by a madman, that is when, often times, the same people were not attempting to pin the crime on conservatives? Well, judging from the above video, some people on the Left do not. This bloody Republican killing fantasy is the work of a gay rights activist. Here is a statement he made in a story on The Blaze:
The metaphor of Republicans as zombies is unfortunately very appropriate because their heartless opposition to gay marriage, healthcare, and climate change science is a political infection that if not fought back, will be deadly to the lives of millions of Americans,” explained Luke Montgomery, RepublicanZombieDefense.com’s founder and a prominent gay rights activist.
“It is unbelievable that we live in an age when millions of Americans continue to be denied the right to marry, based on their sexual orientation,” he continued. “Progress is being made to eliminate this archaic way of thinking, but allowing Republicans to take the White House in 2012 will deal a huge setback to marriage equality.” Continue reading
Hmmm, that is not quite the version I remember. Speaking of zombies however, I have no doubt that the real Abraham Lincoln would have laughed at the following scene from the Bob Hope movie The Ghost Breakers (1940): Continue reading
Many have heard the term, The Family That Prays Together Stays Together. Yet, how many are familiar with the life of Father Patrick Peyton, his rosary rallies which drew millions, and Family Theater which he started in Hollywood in 1947 and is still going strong today? How many are aware that Father Patrick Peyton drew over 1,000,000 people to several rosary rallies in the 1950s. He even drew over 550,000 to a 1961 San Francisco Rosary Rally, six years before the city became a focal point for the 1960s counter culture revolution and subsequent 1967 Summer of Love. As you can see, when we turn our back to faith, we find ourselves going down a very slippery slope. Yet, Father Patrick Peyton was a true visionary. He saw the slippery morals in tinsel town long before the 1960s and knew he needed to do something to counterbalance what was going on. He knew of Hollywood’s bad influence and moral collapse long before most realized it, and yet he truly believed that Family Theater would one day bring faith back to Hollywood and all who are influenced by her.
Who was this Renaissance man, a man of wealth and privilege, a man of many letters? Hardly, Father Patrick Peyton CSC came to the US during his teen years, penniless, uneducated and according to the world’s precepts harboring little potential. However, before he left the docks of Ireland his mother told him in no uncertain terms that with the Blessed Mother’s aid, he could do great things. After doing manual work for the Holy Cross Fathers he was allowed to enter the seminary at Notre Dame. Yet, shortly before he was to be ordained, he received a dire medical prognosis and it appeared that not only was his ordination in question, but his life itself was in peril. He did the only thing he could, pray unceasingly. His prayers were answered and he thanked the Blessed Mother along with St Joseph, both of which he had a strong devotion. He along with his brother was ordained in 1941. Continue reading
The Emperor was widely regarded as the savior of Rome. The son of slaves he had fought his way to power against the enemies of Rome. After a half century of chaos he brought order and unity to Rome, crushing pretenders to the imperial purple and restoring the borders of the Empire against the barbarian tribes. Under his tetrarchy system Rome would be ruled by two Emperors and two Caesars who would eventually succeed the Emperors. Peace now reigned in the Empire after decades of strife. Small wonder that Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, better known to history as Diocletian, was hailed as a second Romulus, a second founder of Rome. Continue reading
Bob Hope was a Republican, but, above all, he was a comedian, and he never let politics stand in the way of a good punch line. A death bed Catholic convert like John Wayne, he will be the subject of a future post here on AC.